Wheelchair Tennis was founded in 1976 and is one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the world. Wheelchair Tennis integrates very easily with the able-bodied game since it can be played on any regular tennis court, with no modifications to the size of the court or the size of rackets or balls.
The game follows traditional tennis rules, with the only exception being that the Wheelchair Tennis player is allowed two bounces of the ball.
Wheelchair Tennis has been part of the Paralympic Games since 1992.
How to PLAY Wheelchair Tennis
Wheelchair Tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis. The only difference is Wheelchair Tennis players are allowed two bounces of the ball; provided the first bounce occurs within the bounds of the court.
The events are singles (between two players) and doubles (between two pairs). The winner of a match is determined by the first to win two sets.
Basic Rules of Wheelchair Tennis
Please click here to download the Rule Book from the International Tennis Federation that is used at national/international events.
Who can play Wheelchair Tennis
To be eligible to compete, a player must have a medically diagnosed, permanent, mobility-related physical disability which must result in a substantial loss of function in one or both lower extremities.
Each Wheelchair Tennis player is classified based on their functional ability. There are two class divisions, “Open” and “Quad”.
Open Division: Players have a permanent, substantial or total loss of function in one or both legs. They do not however have impaired upper body function.
• Spinal cord injury at the S1 level or above, associated with loss of movement;
• Joint fusion and/or joint replacement of the hip, knee or upper ankle joints,
• Amputation of any part of the leg above the metatarsophalangeal joint of the foot
• A player with a disability in one or both legs equivalent to the above
Quad Division: Players with a permanent physical disability that results in a substantial loss of movement in one or both of their legs along with one or both of their arms.
Players in the quad class must meet one of the following minimum eligibility criteria:
• A spinal cord injury at the C8 level or above, with associated loss of movement
• Arm amputation, or dysmelia;
• Arm myopathy or muscular dystrophy, or;
• A player with functional disabilities in one or both upper extremities equivalent to the above
How Do I Get Classified?
To determine a player’s class, a panel of approved classifiers will observe the player’s movements during practice, warm-up, play and/or at any time during the tournament. These observations by the classifiers may be supplemented by a review of the player's medical history and by a physical examination of the player.
Wheelchair Tennis is a dynamic, fast-paced game that can be played on your local tennis court. It has a huge following of players and supporters, making it a great way to meet new people. A pathway exists for participants to compete at all levels from local competitions to representing their state at national competitions and possibly even go on to international competitions such as World Championships and Paralympics. Why not give it a go!
Where Is it Played
Every state has a local Wheelchair Tennis program which is open to players of all skill levels. To start playing, contact your state affiliation listed in “Who Runs The Sport”.
Click here to view the Wheelchair Tennis Athlete Pathway.
To find out more about the competition pathway please the state office listed below under “Who runs the Sport”.
Become an Official
There are three main officials in Wheelchair Tennis, the Chair Umpire, the Chief Umpire and the Referee. ITF certification is required to be an official at an international competition. Officials must attend an ITF course, offered in Europe, where they complete intensive training and earn a badge. A white badge is the minimal qualification for international officiating. The need for good officiating at all levels of the game is widely accepted and it is for that purpose that the ITF has developed a global program to improve the quality of officiating from grass roots to Grand Slams.
National Officiating Program:
Tennis Australia provides a basic introduction to tennis officiating, concentrating on the Rules of Tennis and the basic techniques and procedures of Chair and Line Umpiring. Those who successfully complete the program are qualified to referee or umpire national level competitions.
To become a national level official, register your interest here or contact Tennis Australia directly on (03) 9914 4000.
Become a Classifier
There are two types of classifiers at the Paralympic level, medical and technical. The following prerequisites are required to be eligible for classifier training:
Medical classifiers: Currently registered medical professional (physiotherapist or medical doctor); with minimum 5 years clinical experience with people with physical disabilities. OR; Currently registered Ophthalmic professional (Orthoptist, Ophthalmologist) with minimum 5 years clinical experience with people with low vision. Individuals must be based in one of the major Low Vision Centres in Australia.
Technical classifiers: Must hold a Bachelor or Master degree in sport science/ kinesiology / human movement science or other equivalent; as well as hold additional sports specific qualifications including coaching or sport specific study.
Prospective classifiers must also demonstrate a strong understanding of Wheelchair Tennis.
To find out more about the classifier pathway contact the Australian Paralympic Committee via email email@example.com or phone +61 2 9704 0500.
Become a Volunteer
Wheelchair Tennis competitions are only made possible through the help of our dedicated volunteers.
To volunteer at an upcoming international competition contact the International Tennis Federation via email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +44 (0)20 8878 6464.
To volunteer at national competitions, follow this link and place an inquiry with Tennis Australia
Alternatively, you can volunteer at state/local competitions through contacting the local offices listed below under “Who runs the Sport”.
Please contact your state office (listed in “Who Runs The Sport” section below) for details about up-coming state and local competitions.
UPCOMING NATIONAL EVENTS
Please visit our events page for any upcoming Australian events.
UpCOMING International EVENTS
Please visit our events page for any upcoming International events.
WHO RUNS THE SPORT?
(03) 9914 4400
STATE / TERRITORIES
New South Wales
Wheelchair Sports NSW
Contact: Mark Wilson
P: +61 2 9809 5260
Disability Sport and Recreation
P: +61 3 9473 0133
The International Tennis Federation
+44 (0)20 8878 6464
Get in Contact
Tennis Australia is the peak national governing body for Wheelchair Tennis. Their contact number is (03) 9914 4400. To place an inquiry with Tennis Australia, follow this link.
Intro to Wheelchair Tennis from Australian Paralympic Committee
Referees from Tennis Australia
Learning Wheelchair Tennis from Let's Roll
International Rules from International Tennis Federation
Table Officials Manual from International Tennis Federation
Referee Pathway from Tennis Australia